Posted by: slartibartifast | February 24, 2011


I am rarely surprised by life any more. I am pleasantly surprised by it even less. I am almost never impressed by it lately. That makes a short drive I took from Solomonville, Arizona, to Thatcher, Arizona, last Monday even more of an anomaly.

My mother-in-law died ten days ago and we went to Safford, Arizona, where she was born and raised, to attend her funeral ceremony. The actual ceremony was held at a smaller nearby town, Solomonville. We had to drive in the funeral procession from Solomonville to Thatcher, to the cemetery where her husband already waited for her arrival.

Along the way we passed an oncoming car on the back country, two-lane, road we traveled, behind the hearse. It pulled over to the shoulder and stopped. I noted it, but said nothing to my wife in the car with me.

Then we passed another oncoming car and they did the same. And another. And another. And another. And another. In all I estimate that 15 out of 18 cars we passed did this on our sad drive. Midway I made a comment that it was remarkably respectful of the local people to do this.

At about the midway point of our conveyance I saw something to my left, alongside the road, that will stay with me, forever burned into my memory because of its slow motion, surreal, serene, nature.

There was a small grove of pecan trees and in it stood three men, at still attention, between 45-60 years of age, looking for all the world like they were made out of leather they were so tan and worn, all with their sweaty baseball caps off and held over their sweaty shirts…over their hearts.

Silently stunning.

That image has been simmering in my psyche since I witnessed it.

So long Ella Mae. Thanks for being so nice to me and everybody else. I miss you.



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